Tag Archives: Kelsey Olson

Want to make peace? Get angry

What makes you mad? Really, deeply angry?

Instead of letting it go, or meditating it away, Kailash Satyarthi, the co-winner of the Nobel Peace Prize 2014, wants you to hang on to that anger. To hang on to the fire and passion generated by it and harness it into something positive.


“Anger is in everyone. If we are confined in the narrow shells of egos and the circles of selfishness—anger becomes hatred, violence and revenge. If you can break the circles the same anger could turn into a great power,” he says in his TED2015 talk.

Satyarthi has harnessed his great power from great anger, which stems from witnessing the cruel injustices caused by the caste system of his native India.

This system, with its rigid social stratification, is harshest for the untouchables, a class of people so ostracized they literally cannot touch or interact with others. Satyarthi, furious and fed up, organised a rebellion dinner. The untouchables would prepare food for the leaders, a highly taboo proposition. The leaders pledged their support and promised to attend.

The day arrived, the food was prepared, and none of the leaders came. Satyarthi went around the village to round up the leaders who had promised to come. When he arrived at his own home, he found a contingent of his caste leaders in the front yard. Humiliated and horrified, they threated to outcast Satyarthi’s entire family.

Instead, Satyarthi outcast himself.

He renounced his former surname (which was linked to his caste) and adopted the surname Satyarthi, which means seeker of truth.

He’s since founded movements and campaigns that have helped free over 83,000 child labour slaves and worked with NGOs to develop policies to end the exploitation of children. His mantra has become anger, idea, action.

“The energy of anger could be harnessed to create a better and beautiful world. A more just and equitable world,” he says.

Fury is a potent fuel. You just have to decide if you’re going to let it burn you up or light a fire with it.

Feeling inspired?

As the old adage goes, if you choose a job you love, you’ll never work a day in your life. While we can’t guarantee that it won’t feel like ‘work’ at times, there is something uniquely fulfilling about taking a leap of faith to chase your dreams. So how do you get from dream to reality?

Meet Gavin Aung Than, who did just that. We know Gavin as an Inspired alum, having trekked the Inca Trail for World Vision Australia in November 2013. However we soon learnt that he is so much more! Gavin is Zen Pencils, a freelance cartoonist who adapts inspirational quotes into comic stories. Quitting his unfulfilling job at the end of 2011, Gavin followed his true calling and has turned his real passion into real life.

IA: Was there a key moment when you knew you weren’t fulfilling your passion?

GT: I was frustrated at my job for a number of years, but I guess it peaked as my 30th birthday approached. I know age shouldn’t matter so much, but the fact that I was turning 30 and wasn’t where I wanted to be career-wise really made me take stock. Plus I had gotten married around that time, so I felt it was time I took control of where my future was heading.

IA: To achieve your dream of becoming a cartoonist, did you take one big leap of faith or jump across many stepping stones?

GT: The story that makes for exciting newsletter reading goes like this: I quit my soul-sucking corporate job, sold my house and took a massive leap of faith to start Zen Pencils, which is true. But the less exciting story is that there were many stepping stones that led to that decision. I had been drawing and working on comics since I was a kid and continued as I started working. I was fortunate enough to work in the newspaper industry as a graphic designer, and was able to get some of my comic strips published. So there where many years of working on my passion in my spare time. If I hadn’t put in those years of practice, there’s no way my leap of faith would have worked out. So I like to advise people that once you think you’re ready and you have put in the hundreds or thousands of hours of practice, only then should you take the leap of faith.

IA: What has been the most rewarding thing about creating Zen Pencils, and the highlight of your career?

GT: Hearing the amazing feedback and stories from readers has been the most rewarding thing. The comics really seem to be helping people from all over the world, which is something I had never planned.

And I guess the highlight would be having my first book collection come out last year. It was a dream come true. I’m now a New York Times Bestseller!

IA: What are your three best tips for following your dreams?

GT: I think everyone’s path is different, and there’s no instruction manual on how to follow your dreams. But here are some things that helped me:

  1. Do something UNIQUE which fits in with your passion. I had created two previous webcomics before Zen Pencils. I spent years working on them but they never really succeeded because there were literally thousands of similar webcomics being produced. It was only when I hit on the idea to adapt inspirational quotes, which had never been done before, that I finally got somewhere.
  2. Once you’ve got a plan just got for it and TAKE THE LEAP.You might have been ready all along, but sometimes our own fear and anxiety hold us back from taking that final step. I wish I had taken my leap a few years earlier.
  3. Ignore the naysayers. My favourite quote from Teddy Roosevelt sums this up better than I can.

IA: You once said you put all your eggs in one basket. What’s the benefit of having no backup plan?

GT: Well I guess it forces you to take it extremely seriously, because there’s no ‘Plan B’. Making it work becomes an ‘I have to make it work or I won’t have a roof over my head’ scenario. Sheer terror can be a great motivator!

Feeling inspired?

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We’re pretty lucky here at Inspired Adventures to cross paths with some amazing people. Turia Pitt is one such woman.

Turia’s life was turned upside down when she was caught in a bushfire while running an ultra-marathon in the Kimberley. After an intense (and ongoing) recovery period, Turia has become an ambassador for Interplast, a charity which exists to provide medical training and free rehabilitation surgeries to people throughout the Asia Pacific region.

Turia is an author, athlete, motivational speaker, engineer, and to us here at Inspired, a true adventurer—having trekked the Great Wall of China in 2014 and soon to conquer the Inca Trail.

With so many adventures ahead, we caught up with Turia to talk all things travel…

What is your earliest adventure memory?

We didn’t have a television when we were young, so naturally all we wanted to do was watch TV! We would climb up a tree onto the roof of our house, then jump from the roof of our house to the roof of our neighbour’s house. We’d then watch the neighbour’s TV through their skylight.

What is the one thing you can’t travel without?

My iPad. I’m an avid reader and I love that it lets you travel with a thousand books.

What is your favourite international destination?

Probably the island of Nuku Hiva—it’s within the Marquesas Islands in French Polynesia. There’s not much there and you really feel like you’re away from everything and at the end of the earth!

What do you do to settle into a long flight?

I find it really difficult to sit still on a flight. So I try to break it up: watch a movie, have something to eat, go for a walk around the plane, read a book, listen to a podcast, have something to eat (I take snacks), watch a movie… You get the idea…

How does fundraising adventure travel differ from a holiday?

People are constantly asked to donate money so the key to fundraising is thinking outside the box in order to do it differently. It can be really challenging… But that makes it more rewarding when you go on the adventure.

What destination surprised you the most?

Mongolia. Gers, yaks and grass dot the landscape for as far as the eye can see. The local people love playing games, especially wrestling, and they have a deep reverence for Genghis Khan.

If you could only visit one place for the rest of your life, where would it be?

Huahine in French Polynesia. Great surf, great fishing and a really cool chilled out island vibe.

Quick questions:

Suitcase or rucksack?


Sailing or surfing?


Book or iPad?


Today or tomorrow?

I like them both!

Feeling inspired?

Visit the Inspired Adventures Calendar to find a charity challenge perfect for you.

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